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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Genetics, Law and Society
Module Code LG3720
School School of Law & Government
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Aisling De Paor
Semester 2: Aisling De Paor
Autumn: Aisling De Paor
Module TeachersAisling De Paor
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module studies the challenging questions that arise at the intersection of genetics, ethics, law and society. It looks at the ethical and social issues raised, as genetic science and technology advance. The module also looks at the legal issues arising in the area of human genetics, the laws that may apply, and the gaps in the law. Topics covered include the ethical, legal and social issues surrounding genetics and use of genetics in a variety of contexts. The module examines the use of genetic testing and genetic information in employment, insurance, sport, criminal justice and a variety of commercial contexts. It also examines Government interest in and use of genetic information, for immigration and other purposes. It covers topics such as genetic privacy and genetic discrimination, and the issues arising in the context of genetics in reproductive medicine. The module also focuses on the regulation of this field.

Learning Outcomes

1. Understand the reality of genetic science and its potential to revolutionise medicine and healthcare, as well as the potential to shape our perceptions of humanity and society in general.
2. Identify the future orientation of genetic science and technology and understand the ethical and legal issues likely to arise.
3. Identify the connections between genetics, ethics, law and society.
4. Identify the wider societal and public policy concerns arising as genetic science and technology advances.
5. Understand and articulate ethical arguments and legal arguments on the various sides of these issues, with a view to recognising the balance of competing rights and interests in genetic information.
6. Understand the commercial application of genetics in contexts such as employment and insurance, and identify the law and policy issues arising.
7. Identify relevant laws addressing such issues as genetic discrimination, genetic privacy, and genetic research.
8. Identify contemporary challenges and issues arising in the field of reproduction with advances in medicine, science and technology.
9. Identify the different means and modes of regulation in this area, as well as the different legal theories applicable.
10. Identify potential gaps in the current law in light of rapidly advancing science and technology.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture242 hour lecture. Class discussion expected.
Independent Study226Reading, research.
Total Workload: 250

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Introduction and Overview

Genetic science and new genetic technologies

Genetics, ethics and new technologies

Genetics, eugenics and ethics

Genetic testing in employment

Genetic testing in insurance and other third party contexts

Genetics, privacy and data protection

Genetics and reproduction – an introduction

Genetics, reproduction and designer babies

Law, regulation and policy in the field of genetics and new technologies

Exam and revision

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment0% Examination Weight100%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Gerard Quinn, Aisling de Paor and Peter Blanck (eds): 2014, Genetic Discrimination - Transatlantic Perspectives on the Case for a European Level Legal Response, First, Routledge, London,
  • Deirdre Madden: 2011, Medicine, Ethics and Law, Second, Bloomsbury Professional, London,
  • Mark Taylor: 2012, Genetic Data and the Law – A Critical Perspective on Privacy Protection, First, Cambridge University Press, London,
  • Graeme Laurie: 2002, Genetic Privacy: A Challenge to Medico- Legal Norms, First, Cambridge University Press, London,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
BCLBachelor of Civil Law (Law & Society)
BCLNBCL (Clinical)
BCLYABCL (International)

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